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Conservative Analysis: Opponents of Florida’s Brightline Miss the Mark

Bloomberg View’s Ramesh Ponnuru evaluated both sides of the argument and found a privately funded rail project could be a model for the future…

High Speed Train

In light of President Donald Trump’s commitment to infrastructure updates, Bloomberg View’s conservative analyst Ramesh Ponnuru took a look at the argument against All Aboard Florida’s privately funded Brightline project that would connect Miami and Orlando.

In short, Ponnuru found that the additional regulations that state lawmakers are advocating for are duplicative and that local officials are actually paying more for lawsuits than they are for the upkeep of railroad crosssings – a bone of contention for at least one county:

The county officials who don’t want the express service running through their jurisdictions take credit for delaying it, but they also want the Florida Legislature to pass a law hindering it. The bill they have in mind is called the “Rail Safety Act.” It’s a misleading title. The service would already fall under both federal and state safety regulations. The bill’s terms have been written to apply only to this project, not to raise safety standards across the board.

The bill would also make All Aboard Florida pay for maintenance of the road crossings over the track. Those crossings are currently the responsibility of the counties, based on longstanding agreements in which they got the rail company to allow them to be built on its land. In recent years, the counties have spent more on their lawsuits against Brightline than on upkeep.

Ponnuru concludes that a privately funded project like Brightline “is the kind of thing policymakers in Washington are going to be debating how to have more of. Less governmental obstruction would be a good start.”